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My Style Atlas: CAMILLA

My Style Atlas: CAMILLA

Camilla Franks launched her namesake label CAMILLA on the crystalline coast of her native Australia ten years ago, the result of an unstoppable creative vision. Her collections have come to redefine resortwear – synonymous with laid-back, bohemian living, each beautifully crafted and detailed piece is inspired by her global wanderings to far-flung places and dreams of an endless summer. Iconic prints, beaded and embroidered kaftans and flowing fabrics conjure sun-drenched memories, and her fans include the likes of Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Oprah. We chatted to the Aussie Queen of the Kaftan about philanthropy, beaches, balance, and her most treasured places on earth.

On the CAMILLA journey . . .
My acting days were a platform for the label you see today. It all started in 2004 when I was an actress in Sydney, and I became really passionate about designing some of the costumes for my characters. From there I shifted my creativity into designing rehearsal gear and costumes. I opened by first boutique in Bondi and it’s been a big party ever since. It all happened quite organically.

I still have to pinch myself when I think back to those early days. Bondi will always have a special place in my heart. Whenever I visit, it's a solid reminder of how important hard work, crazy ideas and the love of craft is. It will always be my baby!

On being inspired by the beach . . .
I used to holiday on the magical slice of paradise known as Fraser Island as a kid – my memories there are from when life was simple and carefree. True bliss. You could say my style started there and grew into what it is today. It’s the ability to totally relax by the water and unwind from the everyday toil that allows the creative juices to flow.

On maintaining her balance . . .
When I just started out, it was just me and a few extra hands (like those of mum and aunty) to help me cross the line. I have spent years building the right team, and now, 14 years later, I’ve found my tribe. I’ve learned that you need people who accept you as your true self but who can also take your business to the next level, to take that pressure off you. I take each day at a much slower pace now and commit time for myself where I meditate, I do yoga, I have a personal trainer and I love walking my dogs. This year I’m focussing on only doing things to ensure I have the perfect work life balance.

On the causes closest to her heart . . .
I’m so honoured, humbled and excited that I’ve entered a tribal circle of great women as an ambassador for the Unleashed Women Movement driven by The Hunger Project. As an ambassador, I come with a tribe who I know share my same values – I’m not taking this role lightly.

I’ve always believed that there is no force equal than that of a determined woman. The Unleashed Women Movement by The Hunger Project aims to empower women in rural villages in India, Africa and Bangladesh to develop their self-esteem and independence, and unleash their leadership, capacity and potential so they can introduce positive changes within their community.

On dressing for the beach . . .
My philosophy is that all women, no matter what age, shape or size have the right to feel beautiful, so my favourite beach look involves something comfortable that inspires confidence in the wearer. I love layering a kaftan over really killer swimwear.

On SS17’s biggest influences . . .
We travelled far beyond the city lights and into the hills of China and Tibet. We spent time with these communities and learned about their respective arts. We didn’t speak the same language but we shared a common understanding through textiles, food, sometimes rice wine, and we learned how they kept their art alive through being courageous.

While traveling on the road in China can be challenging at times, I truly believe this is one of our strongest collections to date and I’m so proud and excited to share this very special collection with the world.

On her favourite SS17 pieces . . .
In Kaili, we met the Miao women dressed in their traditional costume and silver headwear. I found such a rich artisan pride here that really inspired the whole ‘Girls of Kaili’ print story. The Drop Shoulder Top in Festival Friends is a very bohemian style piece - it’s effortless and ageless, one of my favourites.


From Miami's luxe interiors to the soulful city of Udaipur, Camilla talks us through her favourite, stylish destinations on earth.

The Faena Hotel, Miami

I love, love, love The Faena in Miami! I stayed at this treasure when I was in town for Miami Swim week last year. It ticked everything off for me; beautiful rooms, bohemian interiors, delectable food and drink and a buzzing crowd. I had my CAMILLA Tribe with me there and we had so much fun. I’ll be back!

Italy, Europe

Last year my partner and I journeyed to Italy together and completely surrendered to the overwhelming romanticism of this passionate and beautiful country. The architecture, the food, the people, the culture . . . There’s something about Italy that makes the sunshine feel warmer and colours appear more vibrant, it makes you want to squeeze the last drop of enjoyment out of every day.

Udaipur, India

India is such an important part of the CAMILLA story . . . The land, the colour and the people. India is my second home and truly the best place for my soul to be. In October of last year I travelled further afield in India and I found my Disneyland - Udaipur. I dined with old friends, explored opulent palaces and I fell in love with the precious details of Udaipur over and over again.

Bondi Beach, Sydney

I’m a born and bred Sydney girl, and the eastern suburb beaches were my stomping grounds growing up. I love Bondi because of the vibe and the memories I have there. My Bondi Beach House was my bohemian den where the CAMILLA brand grew and it’s built about as close as you can get to Bondi Beach without getting wet! I visit Bondi and my Beach House as often as I can.